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The Riverside Hospital Foundation: Lasting Legacy

Preserving the legacy of a historic Jacksonville hospital is the core mark of the Riverside Hospital Foundation. Metro Jacksonville tells the history of the fond institution and how the organization is supporting premiere healthcare in Northeast Florida in its memory.

Published November 16, 2011 in News      4 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


History Of The Hospital

In 1911, physician Carey Rogers opened Riverside Hospital on the corner of Margaret Street and Riverside Avenue. Known then as Rogers Hospital, it was the third to serve the people of Jacksonville. Shortly thereafter, three Jacksonville physicians bought Rogers Hospital and renamed it Riverside Hospital. In 1921, doctors Edward Jelks, Turner Carson and Harry Peyton, started one of the first group medical practices in the country.

Aside from establishing the Riverside Clinic group medical practice, Riverside Hospital made numerous strides in health care. It was the first hospital in Florida to perform X-rays and electrocardiograms (EKGs) and the first in the state to require board certification of its medical staff. Riverside was also the first hospital in Jacksonville to develop and operate approved suites where an expectant mother could go through all phases of child labor.

Riverside Hospital was a leader in both health care delivery and medical facilities operations. The hospital served as a premier nursing school until 1956, was chartered as a nonprofit entity in 1958, built a six-story patient tower in 1968, and 14 years later the original building was razed to accommodate a brand new wing. When the Riverside Hospital was sold in 1991, it had provided cutting edge health care to Jacksonville residents for more than 80 years.

About The Foundation

Although there is no longer a physical structure standing proudly in Jacksonville, the Riverside Hospital’s legacy lives on through the Riverside Hospital Foundation, which was formed by the corpus of the hospital’s sale. Today, where the Riverside Hospital once stood, retail and commercial establishments stand. This model of urban renewal shows a Publix, Starbucks and many small, locally-owned-and- operated businesses serving the residents of Riverside in the same manner in which the Riverside Hospital once did.

Since its inception, the Riverside Hospital Foundation has disbursed more than $9 million in grants to public agencies and private nonprofit corporations. Their primary focus continues to be in support of organizations and programs that engage in or support the research or delivery of health care in Northeast Florida.

The true lasting legacy of the Riverside Hospital lives on in many ways. The land that the physical facility once called home lives on, serving to revitalize a neighborhood as a hub of life and commerce. The Foundation that bears its name continues its tradition of providing care and service to the people of the community.

For more history about the Riverside Hospital, or details on grant opportunities and information on requests for proposals, visit

Article by Helen Werking, Executive Director of the Riverside Hospital Foundation.



November 16, 2011, 07:29:59 PM
History that I did not know - thanks for the article.  According to Wikipedia, St Vincent's started in 1916 - which means the two operated successfully for several decades very close to each other.  I wonder why one survived and the other did not?


November 17, 2011, 04:24:26 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but my memory tells me Riverside Hospital was bought during the time that St. Vincent's and Baptist Hospitals were aligned.  Riverside never was near the physical size of St. Vincents, and those nuns have a lot of money  :)


November 18, 2011, 12:12:28 AM
Riverside Hospital obviously has a long history in the area. Upon it's sale however, I recall RAP (Riverside-Avondale Preservation) was only too happy to have the facility demolished and redeveloped to "match the character and scale of the community". It was felt the structure was too large for the area, as I recall. When the retail center was built to replace it, the anchor tenant, Publix, built a smaller than usual (by modern standards) grocery store, to satisfy preservationist's demands. Yet the monstrosity across Margaret Street (1661 Riverside), built just a few years ago, is considered "neighborhood friendly". Go figure. Must be because of the architectural "style". Real history, the hospital, had a modern look that is anathema to our local house-huggers. Yet, the redevelopment of the area is very nice.


November 18, 2011, 01:31:39 AM
Great article. My mother put in nearly 30 years at this hospital, it will bring her happiness to see it remembered.

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